Remembering Pipal Tree's work in Nepal in your will
When Bev and I met with our solicitor today to update our joint wills, we had an interesting discussion on how she would write her will and what she would want to know before making a charitable bequest. The bottom line was very much that she'd want to know how her final gift would be used, so I thought I would let you know the options if you are writing or updating your will.
Before going into that, some general comments. First and foremost, if you haven't written a will then please do so! Sometimes people think that they haven't anything much to leave but when you sit down to think about it, you might be surprised what needs to be taken into account. Also, even minor things can so easily lead to an unseemly squabble after a bereavement and when emotions will almost inevitably be running high. That can be the price of dying intestate, leaving behind a legacy that your loved ones certainly won't thank you for! It is far better to spend a little money now and employ the services of a solicitor to make sure that your wishes are crystal clear and this can include a listing of items that may only have significant sentimental value. In my opinion it is a sound investment to pay for a solicitor rather that using a cheap DIY will package that might be available to download for from a local high street shop (no names mentioned!).
The other thing to write is that a will can become outdated very quickly as interpersonal relationships might change or if you go through a major life event such as marriage, the arrival of a child, or a house move. So, do review the will on a regular basis. Our joint will was only a year old but 2020 was a turbulent year for us both personally and professionally and we needed to make some key changes in the stipulations.
Moving on to the charitable aspects, please do remember Pipal Tree's needs after you have made provision for your top priorities of family, friends and other interest areas. It is always better to think in terms of leaving a percentage as the value of a cash amount will decrease with time to a level that may not reflect the proportion that you would actually have wished to donate. Even a 1% gift from the residue of your estate after you have addressed your other priorities can be made to go a very long way in Nepal. And we are very cost effective - so much more than the big players within the sector who have a higher profile than us. Compare how much of their income gets to the point of need and with our performance last year - 92 pence in the pound went to our charitable projects. That is just about unbeatable given that there is no such thing as the proverbial "free lunch" and if a charity is doing its job properly (e.g. in project supervision) and abiding by statutory obligations, good governance and fundraising needs.
It's important not to link your gift to a specific project either. That project may have lapsed by the time the will is proved and that then presents the Trustees of the charity with a dilemma. It is better, if you wish, to state where your interests lie in general terms - it could be any one of our four regular interest areas - environment/climate, female empowerment, child welfare, community support/education - and the Trustees will allocate the gift in line with those interests and according to what is current at the time the gift is received.
In fact, there is a fifth area where your final gift could make a huge difference, could save lives and where there is a guaranteed ongoing need. That is disaster relief. The poorest people in Nepal are always the worst hit when there are national disasters such as earthquakes, floods, forest fires and, most recently, by the COVID pandemic. The disasters aren't going to go away and they are bound to get worse because of climate change. We currently have sparse funds in reserves for emergency use and the Trustees are seeking to address that by building up a new emergency relief fund.
That's enough for now. Apart from the final word of advice to please remember to include the charity number - 1159770 - to ensure that there is no confusion with any other Nepal charity and in case the charity's name changes. The charity number is a constant.
If you would like any specific guidance, please don't hesitate to contact Philip.